The event will be held at Badger Creek Park in Woodstock, with the varsity, junior varsity and ninth-grade teams playing Friday and the middle-school teams taking the field Saturday. Each of the more than 30 teams entered are guaranteed at least six games.
Each day will begin with pool play, followed by an elimination round. The field is evenly divided between high school and middle school teams. The eighth-grade division is the largest with 11 teams registered.
As the 7-on-7 title suggests, each team will be composed of seven players on offense and seven on defense. Players wear only helmets and mouthpieces, so no tackling is allowed.
Sequoyah running backs coach Tom Sheehan has been in charge of recruiting teams to participate and is pleased with the field. Among those participating in varsity competition with Sequoyah is defending Class AAAA state champion Griffin. Also participating are North Cobb Christian, East Hall, North Forsyth, South Forsyth and Mount Pisgah Christian.
“It’s going to be very competitive both days,” Sheehan said. “The middle-school teams got a lot out of it last time, especially from our program, because our kids don’t get a chance to do that a lot. This will be their second year doing it, so, hopefully, they can compete and get better at what they are doing.”
The program that fielded the two middle-school championship teams a year ago, North Paulding, is not returning because several of its players are at summer camps.
Sequoyah is the only Cherokee County public school participating at the varsity level, though King’s Academy, a home-school athletic program in Woodstock, will field a team. Last year, Cherokee and Etowah had teams at the event, but the Warriors and Eagles did not sign up this time.
Sequoyah varsity coach James Teter hopes to find a starting quarterback this summer following the graduation of multi-year starter Lex Lauletta.
Teter, who was with the Chiefs at a two-day team camp hosted by Reinhardt earlier this week, said it won’t be easy replacing 25 starters.
“We are just so young,” Teter said. “We are just trying to see if we can find some guys who can fill the spots and takes some peoples’ place, and whether they understand what we are trying to do or not. It’s going to be big for us.”
Last year, Sequoyah won the varsity competition. Though Teter doesn’t expect to repeat that feat, he isn’t too concerned about it.
“We just need to get better,” he said. “That is what this is all about.”
Sheehan said putting the tournament together requires contributions from everyone in the program.
“Most of staff — myself, coach Teter, the booster club — have worked together to put it together,” he said.
Each part of the program has been given a different task that range from securing the use of the field to recruiting teams and painting the lines.
“Everyone gets involved with it,” Sheehan said. “It wouldn’t happen any other way.”
Action on both days begins at 9 a.m. and should conclude by 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and there is no fee to attend.